Mizzou Quidditch falls to KU Quidditch

The Mizzou Quidditch team lost to the KU Quidditch team on Saturday.
David Nordwald, left, attempts to block Kevin Grieb, right, from scoring with the quaffle during a Quidditch practice Wednesday on the David R. Francis Quadrangle. Last Sunday Mizzou played Kansas in Lawrence and lost the best of three games by a score of 2-1.

Last year on a November day under the spell of cold and rain, passersby turned their attention to what was taking place on the quad. A group of students — almost 35 of them — were running around in front of the Columns, broomsticks between their legs.

Erin Miller, a freshman at the time, was one of the spectators. She asked the group when the next practice was and ever since has been a committed member of the team named Mizzou Quidditch.

“The fact that it has to do with Harry Potter makes it really fun to play,” Miller said. “The people that play are obviously fans, so you already have people around you that you have something in common with.”

As a freshman last year, Andrew Crawford noticed fliers for Quidditch around the campus. He says his Harry Potter interest might have been the first thing that brought him to that first practice last fall.

“I think it was a combination of athleticism and… nerd-dom,” said Crawford, who played soccer in high school. “(Quidditch) is a mix of a lot of fun games really. It kind of takes you back to the days when you go out and make up games with your friends in the backyard.”

Players meet at the quad to play every Wednesday, and some players say the practices draw attention from passersby.

“People sometimes walk by and kind of make fun of us that we’re playing this game,” said Crawford. “You have to have confidence though.”

“They just don’t understand,” freshman Anna Tripolitis said. “You sort of have to expect it, but they don’t know how fun it is. I guess they don’t understand why we do it and how much fun it really is.”

Since the group’s inception, junior Erin Weinrick and others have sought the acceptance of MU. The group has been unable to convince the school to give it official organization status and have not been able to join the International Quidditch Association.

Weinrick, who has met with organization representatives, said the university has its doubts about the longevity of the game along with questions about the sport’s safety.

“They’re really wary of the sport,” she said. “We’re having trouble proving to them that they really should invest in us. We’re having more people show interest and there’s such a growth to Quidditch.”

Players hope to have the same opportunities as other collegiate Quidditch programs, such as having the funds to travel to tournaments nationwide and to compete for a bid at the World Cup, hosted in New York City.

“To gain ORG status would be great,” Crawford said. “To have university support and to be able to represent the university as a team would just be awesome.”

But for now, the team creates its own opportunities. Players traveled to the University of Arkansas for the Hog’s Head Invitational merely to observe last year, where they encountered school rival University of Kansas.

“They were all so nice,” Miller said. “We thought, ‘No, we should hate them. They’re our rivals!’ But they were such great people. And we thought we should have a Border Showdown.”

About 25 players in their black shirts with the gold MU Tigers logo on them, black shorts and black socks traveled in five full cars, driven by fellow teammates, to KU on Saturday.

Mizzou Quidditch lost in a best-of-three match, 2-1.

“It was great seeing the team finally come together and play against people besides ourselves,” Weinrick said. “I’m excited for what’s next.”

On Oct. 8, the team will head to Conner Prairie, Ind., for the Midwest Regional. Mizzou Quidditch is one of 15 teams competing.

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